Wild India (Land of the Tigers)

"Wild India: Land of the Tiger" (1997) was a British nature documentary series about India's natural history. It had six episodes with each one devoted to a different type of habitat: river, desert, forest, etc. The Indian naturalist Valmik Thapar narrated the show. Not only did he describe the biological significance of an animal, but he discussed their cultural and religious significance. In Hinduism, many animals were either associated with gods or considered sacred in their own right.

BBC Earth
1 Season, 6 Episodes
November 17, 1997
Wild India (Land of the Tigers)

Wild India (Land of the Tigers) Full Episode Guide

  • Valmik travels to the lush monsoon rainforests of the Indian sub-continent. He journeys from Assam in the northeast, to the Western Ghats in southern India and across the seas to Sri Lanka. These fabled forests are rich in wildlife.

  • Valmik travels to the source of the Ganges which is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus. The infant Ganges carves its way into the forest that clothes much of the southern face of the Himalayas and in spring the slopes blush deep pink with rhododendrons.

  • Valmik discovers thousands of demoiselle cranes in the dunes around the tiny village of Keetchan. They fly across the Himalayas from Russia and China to spend the winter in the desert and have been welcomed and fed by the villagers for hundreds of years.

  • Valmik sets sail on a voyage of discovery, from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, helped by the same ocean currents that drove the first explorers around the coast of India. His first encounter is with a monster 15 meters long and weighing more than 18 tons. This sea creature poses no danger; it is a whale shark, the largest fish on Earth.

  • Valmik travels along the great river basins of India following the sacred Ganges on its 1,000-mile path to the sea. As the monsoon ends, the rivers burst their banks and flooded the wetlands. Tigers, elephants, rhinos and people all adopt a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Both humans and other animals thrive in this sacred waterland which supports 400 million people.

  • On the first stage of his journey, Valmik encounters lions in the Gir Forest, the last remaining home of the Asiatic lion. Also, tigers stalk deer and langur monkeys, jackals pursue sloth bears and a peacock attacks a deadly cobra. In India, as nowhere else, animals live side by side with millions of people.

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